Scouting Report: Stanford, the rematch

Arizona looks to accomplish two things Saturday against Stanford. First and foremost it wants to clinch the Pac-10 regular season championship. Secondly, it would like to avenge its lone conference loss. Stanford has a few goals of its own, including a shot at the conference crown and the chance to prove the first game was not a fluke.

No. 1 Arizona vs. Stanford
Date: Saturday, March 1st, 2003
Time: 4:00 p.m. PST
Location: Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ABC Regional

LAST TIME OUT: Arizona beat Cal 88-75 behind 20 points each from Luke Walton and Salim Stoudamire. Stanford beat ASU 88-77 at Maples.

LAST MEETING: Stanford beat Arizona 82-77 to hand the UA its only Pac-10 loss on the season.

Julius Barnes is exciting and has been playing very well at the point, which is not his natural position. He is streaky and can shoot lights out or go ice cold. If the shot is falling, he could have a big game.

"Barnes is a great athlete," Lute Olson said. "He can penetrate and he is a momentum-type player. If he starts hitting you better not let him get shots. But that's easier said than done because of his athleticism."

Barnes struggled from the field in the first meeting, hitting just 4-of-21 field goals. He was very solid distributing the ball, dishing out 10 assists.

Matt Lottich is another very good outside shooter for the Cardinal. He is a pure shooter but not very quick. Thus, he can't create off the dribble. Lottich could be matched up with Jason Gardner while Salim Stoudamire defends Barnes. While Gardner is not the defender that Stoudamire is, Gardner is plenty quick and should be able to stay with the slower Lottich. Lottich is not a very good defender and if Stoudamire is on fire, that could be scary. Lottich torched the Cats for 23 in the first meeting and you can bet the Cats will give him a lot of attention.

"Lottich is a great shooter in the tradition of great shooters that they've had through the years," Olson said. "There have been games where Lottich has been lights out with his perimeter shooting."

The Cardinal will stick with the starters as long as possible. Dan Grunfeld will spell Lottich at the two, while Jason Haas will come in at the point if needed. Barnes played 39 minutes against the Wildcats last time and Stanford wouldn't mind getting the same playing time out of him again.

Stoudamire is coming off a great performance against Cal and will look to shoot the ball. Gardner has bypassed the shot in favor of dishing the rock and should continue to play pass-first/shoot-second basketball as long as the team succeeds. However, if the team needs a big shot, Gardner will be first in line to take it.

Hassan Adams is the first option off the bench, but if one of the Cardinal guards gets hot don't be surprised to see Chris Rodgers get extra minutes as a defensive stopper.

Josh Childress is much improved over last season when he was somewhat undersized for the college game. Childress has been one of the few Cardinal players who has been steady this season. He is a force on the glass and is also one of the top assist men on the team. Childress is very good at driving to the basket and has an advantage over Walton in speed and quickness. He also has very long arms and is deceptively quick defending the passing lanes. This will be put to the test as Walton is one of the best passers in the conference.

Last time out Childress was not as much a factor as one might expect in a Stanford win. Childress had just eight points and six boards in Tucson. He'll have to better that output if the Cardinal hopes to sweep the Cats.

Rob Little and Justin Davis give the Cardinal two big bangers, something Arizona lacks with the recent departure of Dennis Latimore. Isaiah Fox is the only big body the Cats have. Little killed the Cats in Tucson scoring 13, while pulling down nine boards. Little isn't skilled but he is as strong as an ox and gets great position down low.

"Little has done an outstanding job inside for them," said Olson. "He is a big body, has great hands, and is doing a really nice job when you look at his shooting percentage. He's done a nice job."

Davis played sparingly in Tucson but he is a good rebounder with good upside.

"The addition of (Justin) Davis is huge because he gives them interior scoring, shot blocking, and big-time rebounding ability," Olson said. "Justin is a big-time athlete."

Nick Robinson is an undersized power forward, but is a great athlete who is not afraid to go to the glass. He had nine boards against the Cats, while scoring 14 at McKale. He is a good leaper and defender who could give Rick Anderson some trouble.

Matt Haryasz and Joe Kirchofer give the Cardinal a lot of depth at the post.

The Cats are much thinner up front all of the sudden. Latimore's departure gives the Cats one less banger inside. Although Walton will start on the wing, he will see serious minutes down low. Andre Iguodala is playing very well and makes it much easier to shift Walton to the post.

Channing Frye is on a tear and had one of his best games against Stanford last season. He may have trouble with the likes of Little, but likewise, Little should have trouble with the more mobile Frye. Anderson had a lousy outing last time against the Cardinal and the Cats need him to play better, especially on the glass and the defensive end.

OUTLOOK: The Cats and Cardinal always seem to play good games and this one should be no exception. On paper the Cats should win easily, but this is what we said back in January. Expect this one to be in doubt in the late stages.

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